Detailed Study of RNA Types in Developing Sheep Skin Hair Follicles

Jenn Hoskins
8th June, 2024

Detailed Study of RNA Types in Developing Sheep Skin Hair Follicles

Image Source: Nitesh Rana (photographer)

Key Findings

  • Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences studied hair follicle development in Qinghai Tibetan sheep to improve wool quality
  • They identified specific coding and non-coding RNAs that regulate hair growth and structure
  • Understanding these RNAs can help develop genetic markers for selective breeding to enhance wool traits
The Qinghai Tibetan sheep, a breed known for its long hair, has suffered from declining wool quality due to the lack of systematic breeding practices. To address this issue, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences have delved into the molecular mechanisms that govern hair follicle development, aiming to genetically enhance wool traits and preserve valuable germplasm resources[1]. Wool fibres, primarily produced by sheep, are of considerable economic and practical significance. The wool follicle, a unique model for studying hair growth, offers insights into various biological processes, including epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, tissue regeneration, and nutrient impact on fibre structure[2]. Despite the extensive research on wool growth, the regulatory roles of coding and non-coding RNAs in hair follicle development remain poorly understood. The study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences focuses on both coding and non-coding RNAs, which play crucial roles in gene expression regulation. Non-coding RNAs, including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), have been shown to regulate various levels of gene expression, influencing differentiation and development[3]. These RNAs are particularly important in complex organisms, where they form a hidden layer of regulatory mechanisms that control epigenetic trajectories. In the context of wool follicle development, the researchers aimed to identify specific RNAs that influence hair growth and structure. Previous studies have highlighted the role of lncRNAs in adipogenesis, where they are regulated by key transcription factors and are essential for proper adipocyte development[4]. Similarly, the current study seeks to uncover lncRNAs involved in hair follicle development and their regulatory networks. To achieve this, the researchers employed high-throughput sequencing technology to profile the transcriptome of hair follicles from Qinghai Tibetan sheep. This approach allowed them to identify differentially expressed mRNAs, lncRNAs, and other non-coding RNAs that may contribute to wool traits. The study also constructed a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network to explore the interactions between these RNAs and their target genes. The findings revealed several mRNAs and lncRNAs that are specifically regulated during hair follicle development. These RNAs are likely involved in key signaling pathways that influence hair growth and structure, similar to how certain RNAs regulate muscle development in cattle-yak hybrids[5]. By understanding these regulatory networks, the researchers aim to develop molecular markers for selective breeding and other genetic interventions to improve wool quality. In summary, the study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences provides valuable insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying hair follicle development in Qinghai Tibetan sheep. By identifying specific coding and non-coding RNAs involved in this process, the researchers pave the way for genetic enhancements that could safeguard and improve the wool characteristics of this important breed. This research not only addresses practical agricultural concerns but also contributes to our broader understanding of gene regulation in complex organisms.

BiotechGeneticsAnimal Science


Main Study

1) Comprehensive analysis of the expression profiles of mRNA, lncRNA, circRNA, and miRNA in primary hair follicles of coarse sheep fetal skin

Published 7th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Biology of the wool follicle: an excursion into a unique tissue interaction system waiting to be re-discovered.

Journal: Experimental dermatology, Issue: Vol 15, Issue 12, Dec 2006

3) Noncoding RNA in development.

4) Long noncoding RNAs regulate adipogenesis.

5) Comprehensive Analysis of mRNA, lncRNA, circRNA, and miRNA Expression Profiles and Their ceRNA Networks in the Longissimus Dorsi Muscle of Cattle-Yak and Yak.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙